Vivitek Qumi Q7 LED Projector – Review

QUMI Q7 LED PROJECTOR SUMMARY PAGE 1:  Overall Features and Benefits

Despite a few “rough edges” the Q7 is a solid projector with a very capable feature set, and some real horsepower for an LED projector that weighs only 3 lbs.  It has extensive media players for computer free operations and an optional Wifi dongle, which we did not get to evaluate.  One of its two HDMI inputs supports MHL which is a popular new protocol for, “mobile” hdmi.

First things first, a good part of the attractiveness of the Q7 is the solid state LED light source.   That it needs no maintenance, and the light engine will surely outlast the usefulness of today’s technology is a major plus.   Consider schools who buy projectors with federal grant dollars, then two – three years later have classrooms with projectors that need replacement bulbs, but there’s no budget to replace the lamp.  That happens a lot.  Well, no worries with the Q7 in this regard.  In the average classroom or conference room, this projector should be good for  a decade or more, and probably far longer for those using it as a portable projector.

Even in a heavy use situation such as digital signage, the LED light source should be good for about 5 years or 24/7 use.   I’m not sure that Vivitek would recommend 24/7 operation, few projectors are designed for it, but LED ones have a distinct advantage over lamp based projectors in that sense.

OK, the light engine is good, but you are paying a good deal for it, and it’s not that bright – that’s the story with LED projectors.  Here we measured almost 750 lumens, but there are plenty of lamp based projectors on the market doing 2500 and 3000 lumens, with the same resolution as the Q7, but they sell for $499 and $599, and $749, not close to $1000.   Of course, you might need a new lamp or two over the years, but it’s still a significant difference in price, for a projector only 1/3 to 1/4 as bright.  BTW many of those lack media players.

Let’s talk about the rest of the Q7′s features and benefits, starting with size and weight.  3.1 pounds, about 1.75 inches tall, this projector is a true portable.   And no separate power brick to drag along.  It comes with a nylon type carry case, with space for some cables as well.  Road Warriors rejoice.  This isn’t the projector to present to 300 people, but it will do fine in front of anywhere from 2 to 50+ in a decent room!

Picture Quality is Very Good

The image is reasonably sharp for a WXGA projector (1280×800).  There are definitely sharper projectors, but, when it comes to readability, the Q7 works out to do a reasonably good job, just not exceptional, could be better, but not a deal breaker.  Even small type on a Word document, or 8 and 10 point type on a spreadsheet is readable, but a  bit soft.  Still, type that small isn’twhat most people present.  On larger type as typically found in  Powerpoint presentations the projector’s sharpness performance is just fine.

Color varies by mode, but most modes produce very respectable color suitable for quality presentations, or even a movie or two, should you bring it home on the weekend.  This is not the right projector if you need to calibrate it so it can perfectly produce a client’s corporate logo colors.  It might be close, but when perfection is demanded the Q7 isn’t built for that.  Fortunately for Vivitek, the color and picture are just fine for the vast majority.  Black level performance relative to the home market is not impressive, despite the 30,000:1 contrast claim it’s very entry level.

All considered, I have no complaint with the color handling, or, for that matter other aspects such as image noise, as the Q7 passes image noise tests without any difficulty.

I would have liked to see several things, some could even be improved by a firmware upgrade should Vivitek choose to.  Besides better color controls, and better access to Brilliant Color and other features in multiple modes, I’d have liked the sound setup to allow the internal speakers to play when also outputting through the audio out jack.  That would allow the hooking up of a mini-sub woofer to help out with the sound quality.  It would have been a nice touch.  Few projectors with audio outs, though, have considered, and offered that option.

I would also have liked to see the video media player support more formats, notably .mov.    That would be a real plus, at least for me (our videos are .mov format, I could load them all onto a thumb drive…)  Photo Office, PDF and Music players worked great.  Documentation is  reasonably good.  I worked from a pdf version on my computer.  Good on how to use features, less on explaining the “whys”.   Typical, that is.  Chinese projector? – typos in the manuals…

I think Vivitek should have built in the Wifi, or even if offering it as a dongle, included it in the price, even if it raised the cost a bit ($50?).   Why, because Wifi, for a projector like this adds a ton of access, especially with those media players available (4Gig of memory included).  I would certainly recommend that most people order the wifi dongle when they buy this projector.

But even without those improvements, I really like this projector’s performance.

Qumi Q7 Projector: The Bottom Line!

All considered, the Qumi Q7 is a slick LED powered projector ideal for lots of road warriors.  It’s especially capable for the “new” road warrior, who travels light – works from a phone, or tablet, or a thumb drive.  Sound is good for a small projector like this, and the Q7, when packed in its nylon carry case, takes up little space.

The most serious competition will be with the smaller of the  business projectors that are lamp based. They will sell for less, but eventually need a replacement lamp, typically $199+ unless you are a school where there’s probably a lamp education discount.  Most of those lamp based projectors though would have to be described as at least one size larger, and most would be 1.5 to 4 pounds heavier.

If you have a decent smaller room – be it in a school, or conference room, the Q7 may prove to be a very attractive small projector install.  A little thin on sound, perhaps, with only 4 watts, but, again, very capable in terms of media players, Wifi capabilities (optional), and almost all the typical portable/small fixed install projectors, except hard wired networking.  The Q7 would make a good mount it, and forget about it projector – one that just gets used, no maintenance, until technology bypasses it way down the road.

With all the advanced features – wifi option, media players, etc., the Q7 should be a first class choice for mobile educators, perhaps for specialty teachers that move from school to school as part of special programs.

Heavier and bulkier, are not favorite “features” for those who travel, present, travel present, aka road warriors, giving the Q7 a major advantage over lamp based projectors.  And the road warriors who bring their projectors home for fun and games should find the Q7 more than adequate, as long as you aren’t expecting serious home theater performance.

You can buy smaller, less powerful pocket – led projectors, but the Q7 has the muscle, and the feature set to be a serious choice for serious presenters, just not ones looking to fill a hotel ballroom.

All considered, the Qumi Q7 should do extremely well for those needing a very small portable projector, or those that just want a modern, MHL compatible, HDMI equipped, Media player savvy WXGA projector for a wide range of uses.  And don’t forget that the Q7 should do very nicely for a small digital signage projector.  All that’s left is the list of Pros ad Cons.  Good job Vivitek!

 

 

This projector review is included in our 2014-2015 Best Classroom Projectors Report, which is sponsored by Epson America.

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